Prince William’s Nickname for Princess Kate Harkens Back to a “Gentle Dig” that Queen Elizabeth Once Made Towards Her

The couple that can laugh together apparently stays together.

Prince William and Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty)

The Prince and Princess of Wales have been together for nearly half of their lives—roughly 20 years now (and the two are only 41). Maybe one of their many secrets to success as a couple is being able to laugh at each other, and that’s never more evident than in learning the couple’s nicknames for one another.

Sure, you have the standard operating procedure pet names—William calls Kate darling, Kate calls William babe—but then you have the sexier nicknames…and the nicknames that poke fun at one another. Elevating to the sexier side, Kate calls William “Big Willy” (not going to assume why), and William refers to Kate lovingly as “Babykins,” per The Mirror. That’s great and all, but the best nicknames they have for one another mercilessly poke fun at the other—all in good fun, of course. 

Prince William and Kate Middleton

(Image credit: Getty Images)

William hilariously calls Kate “Duchess of Doolittle,” which royal author Tom Quinn calls a “gentle dig” inspired by Queen Elizabeth. (I don’t know who to love more here: William for coming up with this nickname, or Kate for taking it in stride.) The nickname harkens back to a critique of Kate by Her late Majesty and stems from the fact that Kate didn’t have a full-time career before she married William in 2011. For her part, Kate pokes fun at William by calling him “Baldy”—for obvious reasons.

Sometimes, though, William uses a sweet nickname like darling and says it with “signs of annoyance” that can be detected in his tone when he is cross with Kate, a source told Quinn. (Quinn spoke to Palace staff, historical sources, and royal insiders.) During an interview, Quinn revealed that of William and Kate, “it’s not all sweetness” and the couple have “terrible rows where they throw things at each other,” apparently. Have to admit—did not see that coming.

Prince William, Kate Middleton

(Image credit: Getty)

“Kate might seem to be a very calm person, and William also,” Quinn said. “But it’s not always true. Because the big stress for William and Kate is that they’re constantly surrounded by [Palace aides]. It’s like a Jane Austen novel.”

Kate, Quinn said, is “very much the calm one”; William is “a bit hot-headed,” even though he “hates confrontation.” Kate’s calm aura is so pronounced that Quinn said she has a “Buddhist calm” about her.

Just like their darling and babe pet names show, William and Kate simply want “to be seen as an ordinary couple” that experience “the same stresses of having children, work, and everything else that life brings,” Quinn said.

Prince William and Kate Middleton

(Image credit: Getty)

“I think they are the first generation that you could almost say they’ve broken the mold of this very traditional royal upbringing where you basically pay other people to do all the work, and you only see your children for half an hour a day,” he said. “They’ve broken the mold, but not entirely. I think they like the idea that they’ve put out, that they want their children to have a more normal childhood, because that goes down well with the public. On one hand, they want to represent this traditional continuity, this glorious world that the rest of us can look up to. But on the other hand, they want to be seen as ordinary people just like the rest of us.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.